Most of the major airlines have confirmed that they hope to recommence flights to The Bahamas by November, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Tourism Ellison Tommy Thompson told Guardian Business yesterday, adding though that their restart remains conditional, based on the government’s COVID-19 strategy.
Last week, United Airlines announced that it would return to the Caribbean, including Nassau, in November, explaining it adjusted its schedule to include leisure travel to this region.
“For the month of November, we have adjusted our capacity to add flying for leisure travel to warm weather and beach destinations in Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean, along with visiting friends and relatives travel across the globe,” said United’s Vice President of International Network and Alliances Patrick Quayle.
Thompson said airlines have put November on the schedules for Nassau, especially after government made the announcement that it is replacing quarantine with rapid testing upon arrival for incoming passengers.
However, he added that the return of airlift, as with all things in the country under the emergency orders due to COVID-19, hinges on any upcoming announcements made by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.
“This is all contingent on what happens after the PM meets with PAHO (Pan American Health Organization), and the opposition and the Cabinet meet tomorrow, and what announcement he makes Wednesday,” said Thompson.
Cases of COVID-19 on New Providence continue to surge, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to maintain The Bahamas’ level three warning.
“CDC recommends travelers avoid all non-essential international travel to The Bahamas,” the CDC said.
“Travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel to The Bahamas.”
The warning was posted in early August.
Despite this, American Airlines announced that it would begin its preflight testing program as it restarts regular commercial flights to The Bahamas and the Caribbean in the “weeks and months ahead”.